Organizing your Tools

Garage ‘Cents’

It is hardly a priority when it comes to staying organized; I mean it is just a garage. Like everyone else I will put something in my garage to deal with later. It could be a box of artwork or 16 boxes. Either way I don’t need to deal with it right now. Finding something when you need it can definitely be a task if you suspect the last time you saw it, it was in the garage. Staying organized in your home and including your garage can make for less stress when you need to find something, like the ratchet set to take a part the patio furniture for the season. Making sense of your home organization system can actually save you time, and MONEY!

When Staying Organized Can Save You Money

I have a small business, and I used to run it completely out of my garage and basement. We opened a studio, and I was able to use my garage again for personal use, until we kept growing our business. Our studio space did not have enough room for all of our supplies. I ended up using our garage and basement again to store work related supplies.

The majority of things I have to store are paintings. I have over two thousand paintings for our business and about 60 of the boxes live in my basement and in my garage. I never thought in a million years that A) we would still be in business after five years and B) that we would ever accumulate so many paintings! If I had the forethought to believe those two things, I would have gotten organized from the very beginning. When I am searching for a painting for one of our classes and it takes me over an hour to find it, I am losing money. I can’t be marketing or answering the business line and earning money for the business when I am searching for paintings.

I did get semi-organized a while back, and have pictures of all the paintings and in which box they are located. However I still have to spend time looking at each thumbnail picture on my computer trying to identify which paintings are needed. It is still a giant pain!

Didn’t We Already Have That?!

One of the biggest problems with not being organized is when you buy something you already had! I typically do not lose things, but I know I will give something away or sell it if I haven’t touched it in over a year. This is probably a bad mantra to have when it comes to things you find and keep stored in your garage. It isn’t everyday you are going to need to use a paid of needle nose pliers, but when you know that is the tool you need to fix something or to get a job done and you cant find it. You break down and buy a second pair. We might actually have 3 pairs of them now!

One of the best investments we made to try and keep our tools organized was a tool bench with a pegboard wall. We have hooks where we can display the majority of frequently used tools. This saves us time finding the right tool and money so we don’t go buy a new one when it can’t be located.

Organizing your Tools


To Save or Sell

Having a child can ruin your organization or plans for organization. When trying to clear out my garage and basement I came across roughly 15 tubs of baby clothes and other odds and ends. My first thought, what if we have another baby. Second thought, we didn’t use 90% of this stuff the first time around, so we do not need to keep it! This created an immediate need and desire to have a garage sale.

I went through all of the boxes, totes, tubs etc. trying to widdle down what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to get rid of. I knew I wouldn’t sell everything in the garage sale, but I hoped I would make enough to buy some new clothes for my little man for the next season. While going through the tubs of clothes, the tiny little outfits he used to wear tugged at my heartstrings. Making me think about how much he has grown over the last two years and could my baby have ever actually been this small!?

It was a much bigger project to get ready for a garage sale, than I could have imagined! So many clothes, so many emotions, so little time to get it done while the weather cooperates! Anything we didn’t sell went to charity except for a few really nice pieces. We decided to sell those on

The Garage Beer Fridge

Whether you store beer in it or worms for an upcoming fishing trip, the garage fridge isn’t where you are going to keep a lot of your perishables. The garage fridge is usually scuffed up, older and something you were given for free or bought cheap. They can be pretty easy to come by used, so fixing your garage fridge is probably not worth the money or the hassle, unless you know how to maintain and repair the fridge yourself.

Organizing your GarageSince the fridge has usually lived out its expected useful life, if you begin to have issues with your fridge the manufactures warranty has long since expired. If you have a home warranty it probably isn’t covered by that either, just because of it’s useful life expectancy. Warranty providers usually won’t cover something that is clearly on its last leg. So if that fridge dies, you have several options:

  • Replace New or Used
  • Move Contents to Kitchen
  • Repair: See if It Lives to See Another Day

What the Experts Say!

Professional Organizer Lisa with Organizing by Lisa located in Sioux Falls, SD says “Clients always feel relieved and like a huge weight has been lifted after organizing and de-cluttering. Being able to find things saves time, money and stress. Money because a person isn’t out buying something they already have (or have several of already).” A couple tips she wanted to give us were:

Tips to keeping a garage organized:

  1. Keep like things together. Store all items divided by type. For instance keep all wrenches in one drawer or container. Keep all types of tape in one compartment. Keep all painting materials in one box or tote.
  2. Purge often! Don’t keep things for someday.

Organize It, Clear It Out, Sell It or Replace It

Staying organized in your home and that includes the garage, can save you time, energy and money. You can save time looking for items, like tools or paintings in my case. Not spending a ton of time looking around for things will give you time to work on more important things! Scheduling a routine to go through your storage is a good way to keep it from becoming an overwhelming task.

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